As children mature from infancy to toddler to teen, they experience a variety of situations that may cause a myriad of emotions. Most of these emotions they will experience for the first time, and what better way to handle the external pressure than to revert to comfort. A pacifier or thumb, similar to blankets and soft toy-animals, may provoke the feeling of safety and reassurance when called upon. Although seemingly harmless, pacifiers and thumbs could be harming your child’s oral health and development. Dr. Stewart, offering children’s dentistry services, discusses the effect of each habit your child may be forming.
A Pacifier Relier
When your baby fusses, do you offer up a pacifier? How about offering your toddler a pacifier for the same action? Is your child around the age of six, but still relies on the comfort of a pacifier to calm their nerves? Typically, a child using a pacifier beyond the age of two could be increasing their chance of malocclusion (crooked teeth) and an incorrect bite.
A pacifier’s consistent presence in the mouth during primary teeth or permanent teeth eruption could push the upper teeth outwards towards the front of the mouth and the lower teeth inwards towards the tongue and throat.
In addition to teeth alignment, the application of honey or sugary substances on your child’s pacifier can increase the chance of developing tooth decay and gum disease, as the sugar may pool in their mouth, facilitating bacteria growth and spreading.
Thumb Sucking 101
Is your child a professional at thumb sucking? Could they be registered in a record book for longest duration of thumb-in-mouth? However harmless thumb sucking may look, it can cause detrimental issues to your child’s oral health, costing you more financially to correct the issues than time spent discouraging the habit.
If you’ve already weened your child off a pacifier, they may resort to their thumb. This activity is virtually harmless until permanent teeth begin to erupt. Similar results as prolonged pacifier use may occur if your child continues thumb sucking beyond the age of about four, or when their permanent teeth begin to erupt.
About Dr. Stewart
Excellent dental care begins with developing a relationship with the patient, whether adult or child. James Stewart, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment for your child, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.